Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    March 25, 2013 9:30am-10:00am PDT

9:30 am
who are going to be staying in the program, the clean power sf program and i think that there's a lot of information and possibly misinformation, i would say more definitively more disinformation going about this and it's trying to paint a negative picture about the sf clean energy program, but it's conducted by a labor union, we're also getting a lot of e-mails about this as well and i'm curious if the puc has been aware of this effort and what you think needs to be done on your end to kind of counteract the mez saj that is are coming out against clean power sf. >> yes, commissioner, we're definitely aware of the mailers, and e-mail communications, in part because your lafco staff is helpful in
9:31 am
making sure that folks at the puc see the information, if it hasn't landed on our doorsteps, we get it from jason which is good. you know, our objective is to inform, provide accurate information to our customers, our potential customers, so that's what our customer notification and education program is focused on. we don't want anyone being surprised by becoming our customers, we want them to understand what the service offering is that we're providing. i expect that in order to do that effectively, we will be answering people's questions that arise from receiving this mailer and then hearing from us about our program and saying, you know, how do you reconcile these two different messages and we'll have to be careful to make sure we get accurate information back to our perspective customer, not anl because we think that's the right thing to do, under the code of conduct law, we're
9:32 am
required to do that, so we need to be careful to be giving accurate information and we know pg and e is obligate under that same code of conduct to provide accurate information and i believe the materials that you're referring to were not provided by pg and e. >> okay, by the international brotherhood of electrical workers. >> that's my understanding, by an organization funded by them. >> and you mentioned having a response, has any material been filed so far by the communications department? >> not in direct response to the flyers you're referring to, we certainly already have a website, we are addressing particular information that is addressed to us, we did receive a letter, our commissioners and our general manager received a letter from a representative of the international brotherhood of electrical workers that raised some of the same
9:33 am
arguments that appear in the flyers and we did carefully respond and provide accurate rebuttal to those remarks. i believe that letter exchange was made available to you through your lafco staff. >> okay, and we're seeing since the mailing into the e-mails, i'm not sure we have the ability to do a mail piece or some kind of campaign through electric media might be necessary. i'd like to think that, you know, well, i'm worried now that we are looking kind of flat footed and their goal is they want people to stay in the program, we did not have the customer base that we expect to have for a clean power sf and i think we have to do everything we can possible to make sure we have that customer base, there's a lot at stake moving forward and i would think we could explore today just how
9:34 am
the puc and working with lafco and our offices can have a proactive response here that we can all take part in and make sure we're getting our message out in a clear way. >> i'll let ms. fox take -- >> i'd will happy to do that, and i think it would be helpful to summarize some of the key activities that are part of the customer notification and education plan because i think it will partially answer some of that, so the customer notification and education plan which i think we presented the overview of that to this commission at the end of november and our commission sort of approved that moving forward with that plan at the end of last year as well, so the poll is the first piece of that to really understand the market to generate that new heat map of where is the greater propensity for clean power sf and then beginning at
9:35 am
the end of april is where the first phase of our early notification customer education begins and as part of that work, we will be reaching out to 10 thousand people in those darker green, the dark green medium green precincts going door to door and through phone to educate about what the clean power sf power offering would be and to get peoples' feedback on it, we're also planning on doing partnership with non-profit organizations and we are in the process of figures out who those will be and how that will roll out to help support us in doing overall education about the program so that early notification work is scheduled to happen and we're currently on track for that to happen in april, may and june. then, you know, in june, we have a key decision from our commission around the contract
9:36 am
the purchase energy, you know, assuming that that were to move forward, then we enter into the mandatory opt-out period which is another big opportunity for education where we will be doing agm for power barbara hill has described, that would focus on broadcast media, radio, etc., educating about the program, so we continue to move forward in our efforts around customer education and notification and then commissioners are happy to provide factual responses if you would like to, to some of the mailers. >> i think it makes sense that we have the plan we had approved before and that's one thing that certainly we have to continue with, but we also have a countercampaign against what we're doing that i think needs to be considered in terms of stepping up our efforts to make sure that a clear message is going out about the program, and i'd like to figure out just
9:37 am
how we can be really strong about that. i think april for the start of that could be a little bit late because there's already a lot of messages have been going out now for a few months now and that kind of worries me that we're losing, we're falling behind in terms of the message. commissioner campos? >> thank you, mr. chair and thank you for raising this issue. thank you to puc and lafco staff for looking into this matter. you know, just -- let me just get a copy of these mailers. i certainly respect the right of any entity or any group and in this case of ibw to put out information about our program, but i also feel that in many respects, we are not doing enough in terms of really
9:38 am
countering the misinformation here because whether intended or not, the message here is that somehow our program is unique in the sense that there is a purchase of energy from shell without really saying that pg and e itself is actually buying energy from shell as well, and that the difference between our program and ours is that we are buying energy from shell with the idea as eventually building an infrastructure that allows us to create our own energy, and in many respects, you know, the message to the consumer is that in fact if you want to get out of business, you know, get out of doing business with shell, that the only way we're going to do that is through community choice aggregation, so i think that when someone is providing
9:39 am
misinformation about your program, we have to figure out the level of information that we can really provide out there to counter because i don't think that it's enough to simply say this is the truth about our program, i think we should definitely do that, but is there an ability to say, you know, they're not telling you all the facts, is there an ability to say that is there anything legally that precludes us from doing that? shall -- maybe that's a question for counsel. >> well, this is and it isn't a campaign, and you know the city cannot participate in a campaign, but you can always even in a true campaign, which is this is kind of a pseudo campaign because there's nothing on the ballot but it will be a fiekt, can provide facts and information and that
9:40 am
i think is what we're trying to do through the education program, but i think you're right, that as these pieces fall, there probably should be a strategy or at least a discussion about are we going to, you know, sometimes you think early money spent is well spent and sometimes people forget about it and until we' ear ready with our program, we know big money will be spent, we have limited resources, so it's a discussion of should we respond now, we have the ability to put information in envelopes to rate payers. >> i would encourage us with the puc, the lafco and the city attorney's office to really figure out how aggressive we could be in countering this because i do think that a lot of people are confused and rightly so. i've had so many people come to me and say, how can you be
9:41 am
buying energy from shell and i sort of point out, well, you right now as a pg and e customer is getting energy that comes from shell already, unfortunately, it's part of this business right now, we're kind of stuck, but we have a strategy for getting out of that. you know, but that message is not getting across. the other question is, i understand that this is coming from ibw, but have we inquired or looked into what if any involvement pg and e has actually had? >> in terms of financing that, maybe violating the code of conduct? >> well, has there been any communications between pg and e and ibw regarding this? >> we have not looked into that specifically as staff. >> because to the extent that, you know, pg and e is legally prohibited from, you know,
9:42 am
negatively campaigning against community choice aggregation, right, and to the extent that doing something like that, it could be done in a lot of different ways, not just directly but indirectly so i'm not saying there is any involvement and there probably isn't, but i do think that we need to make sure that we verify that because if there is some involvement, some connection, i think there is an argument that indirect involvement could be a violation, and so to the extent that, you know, we have legal protections that have been put in place by the puc and the state of california, we need to make sure we avail ourselves of those. >> well, i will check with the city attorney's office and i know the sfpuc will be interested in following up on that as well. >> and again, i don't have no reason to believe there's any involvement but i believe we have an obligation to verify that.
9:43 am
>> and jason fried, lafco staff, one thing we did the last time when there was the common sense san francisco which was pg and e using a different name at the time they were allowed to do this kind of stuff, we worked with the puc and the lafco staff put out a spreadsheet, it doesn't cost any money because i think a lot of the supervisors in their news letters put links to this information, so we have facebook, we have e-mail list, we have a lot of ways we can get has information out that won't necessarily cost any money right now is we're not spending the money we need for later on but we can still get that information out there, so what is reality of the program and using some of the things that those mailers are saying which is completely inaccurate would be a way to start that. >> and one thing we could say is in addition to any kind of like a mailer or mailing that has some information about
9:44 am
this, i would also encourage puc, lafco staff to go into the community and there are probably -- i mean, there is dozens, each one of us on the board of supervisors have dozens of organizations and merchant groups, community groups that we can give you information on and we should be going to those meetings and saying, listen, don't be -- at least have all the facts, and don't be fooled by some of the stuff you're hearing. i think it's important for us to do that, even if we do something citywide, i think that going to the ground level is really important. thank you. >> thank you for all that feedback, we'll take that back to our commission and we'll see what we can do working cooperatively with lafco staff to take these low hanging fruit opportunities to get the facts out. >> thank you, another question
9:45 am
from commissioner mar? >> let me to try not to repeat which has already been said by my colleagues, this is a sophisticated propaganda campaign which is spreading misinformation out there, we're being caught flat footed. i feel like jason fried does his best as an army of one but the puc has to be the one that has the eyes and ears with so much staff and resources than i think jason has and i think for him to be relied on to know what's going on and to give it to you to me doesn't make that much sense. i just reviewed the website for the so-called san francisco shell shock and i think they framed it early on and it's going to be hard to raise awareness to counter that, and i'm hoping that we're looking carefully with our partners. i know w*ef f we've received
9:46 am
hundreds of supporters with limited resources as well, but i don't think pr the puc staff you're giving me an understanding that you know what we're up against but i know you know what we're up against and i'll say that even in accept, we were getting non-profit letters from senior organizations, housing groups saying they had concerns about clean power sf, so ms. fox to say you're thinking about what cvo's to think about, we should have been doing this months ago, our offices are getting e-mails proand cons, there's e-mails coming with a similar mess sang and i hope we follow up with some of the legal questions that supervisor campos is following up on seeing if there is a connection to whoever is doing
9:47 am
9:48 am
9:49 am
9:50 am
>> a lot of the areas that these mailers were sent to, i'm not sure necessarily since we have limited resources that a mailer would be necessary right now, just getting the missing fact sheet out to our friends in the community would cover a lot of the people that have received these mailers already. >> commissioner campos? >> thank you, mr. chair, i want to add another point and i
9:51 am
appreciate all the comments that have been made and i do want to acknowledge that i also know that there are limited resources and there are limitations in terms of what we as government agencies can do. i would also say that and encourage the advocate community to also have some role here because as advocates and as private citizens, there are -- there's flexibility that as government agencies we don't have, so i think that anyone out there who cares about the public being -- given correct information, i would encourage them they seriously consider being involved because we can do certain things but there are limitations on what we can do. >> okay, thank you for your presentation, thank you for listening to our concerns and i'm hopeful we can work
9:52 am
together really well to manage a response. we can open up this item for public comment. any member of the public that would like to comment, please come forward. we'll do two minutes per person. >> i'm jessica from the sierra club, thank you for having this in-depth conversation, we've been concerned about it, we created an sf heart facebook page, we're trying really hard to combat this misinformation but would help us immensely if we had real facts, like how many jobs is this program going to create a work, how many megawatts of energy we will have and what years so we've been having a lot of conversation about this program for a long time, the consultant
9:53 am
that's been hired by the sfpuc has a proposal or a plan they've presented that says you're going to have this many jobs, this much renewable generation online and this year, and maybe that program is not completely feasible but what we need is some kind of numbers, we need facts and we need them now. we need more than just the shell contract, we need to know what kind of investment are we make ining the build-out, how much money are we going to spend, how many jobs are we going to create and that will help us immensely fight this misinformation, we can't fight it without that, unless you have the numbers for how many megawatts you're going to have in the city and how many jobs you're going to have, that's going to be a hard one to sell, we're fighting hard to fight this misinformation, it's great
9:54 am
that you're going to continue to have this information, and i urge you to ask the puc to get those numbers to you and have a plan in place as soon as possible, we need to know those details right now so we can maintain a good p.r. and have a good campaign strategy for this, so thank you. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners, eric burkes, representing san francisco green party, so just to take off where my colleague left off, first of all, it's really good to see a new commissioner stepping up, especially from district 5 because all of the things, not just clean power sf, but lafco works on our crucial, clean power sf itself, especially in regard to the build-out that jess was talking about is very crucial, it's
9:55 am
particularly to district 5 because i'm sure the commissioner knows that there's a great need for jobs and jobs training in that district, and so -- and that gets to the heart of what we've been working on for the past couple of years, working with local power and the sfpuc staff and stakeholder meetings to make sure that we get the most robust program possible, and the work that local power that we finally got the sfpuc commission after years of fighting for it, the work that local power is doing on combining the local build-out with the shell contract is showing that we can get thousands of jobs per year for the next several years beginning in the program, get hundreds of megawatts of local renewable and efficiency installed in that program and also be able to say that it's
9:56 am
100% green just like pg and e's going to try to do but with the added benefit has the current numbers that it's showing that we can have all the green energy at competitive prices at pg and e rates, so if we get this right and make sure that build-out is done properly, we can kick pg and e's fiekt, but there have been some drawbacks since the end of september when ed herrington left, we've had a breakdown in communication at our stakeholder meetings and we're not accomplishing [inaudible]. >> thank you. thank you very much. any members of the public who would like to comment? >> john rizzo at the sierra
9:57 am
club, welcome, commissioner breed, just looked up on twitter where someone just tweeted that clean power sf supports the keystone excel pipeline, so you know, we should have a clean power sf twitter account as well as a facebook page to counter that. there are some concerns that kind of feed into this campaign that's going on, and the proposed maximum rate, we think it's too high, it's unnecessarily high. it would lock out a number of san francisco residents from being able to afford it. we think that lower rates are possible for some of the things that eric was just talking about, the puc consultants have shown that using local build-out, you can get lower rates which would allow more san franciscans to participate in clean energy and also get a
9:58 am
wider base. thank you. >> thank you very much. any other member of the public who would like to comment? and anyone else, you can please line up in the center aisle, thank you. >> ben david, sierra club, san francisco has a wonderful opportunity to create a cc a that brings lots of big benefits to the city and its residents including lots of jobs, to get this done, we need puc staff and their consultant to work very closely together, but now they've been having difficulties doing that, you know, one critical area is the
9:59 am
rate premium compared to pg and e's for the first year while the program is getting started up. the premium people end up paying will have a big effect on how many people stay in the program and the suck -- success of the program. there are times when a third party that needs to step in and help two other parties resolve their differences and prevent a bad situation. i feel this is one of those times, lafco needs to take an active role however they can to help them get together and make